My adventures into Motherhood
We just got back from Berlin! The flight out was fine, Sofia was very well behaved on the flight, and we distracted her by feeding her dinner and letting her pull everything out of the seat pocket in front of us. The gentleman seated next to us was very unwisely reading a book that Sofia desperately wanted to rip to shreds. All of her struggling against the restraining arms of her parents must have worn her out, so that when we missed the Airport Express train by mere minutes and got stuck on the disjointed piecemeal service that was supposed to have been the S9 train into the city, she blissfully slept through her parents first encounter with German navigation to our hotel – which took over an hour. Compared to the Express train which would have taken about 20 minutes……
The next morning, we headed downstairs for our first family hotel breakfast buffet! We found out that Sofia LOVES croissants and her toast was quickly discarded onto the floor in favour of fluffy buttery pastries. She also ate wedges with sour cream and I managed to get some of the fresh fruit and yoghurt into her as well. My favourite item on the breakfast menu? Make your own waffle! Take one industrial waffle iron preset to the perfect temperature, butter both sides of the iron, ladle out the mixture in a circular motion over the bottom iron, close the lid and wait 2 minutes. Then carefully extract perfectly crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside waffle and load it up with various different toppings……maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, nutella, fresh fruit, bacon……..mmmmmm. Breakfast is also the perfect time to check out your fellow hotel-goers, and make new friends. A nice guy from Cologne was sitting next to us, having breakfast with his son, also about 9 months old, and we got to talking about Berlin, New Zealand, teething, foods the kids would eat. Another morning a Boston couple stopped by with their 9 month old daughter to say HI as well. Having a baby is the perfect icebreaker!
Our main reason for visiting Berlin was to see James and Andrea who have just moved there, and to see Veerle who travelled down from Amsterdam to meet us all there. So we mainly spent our time sitting in cafes and pubs catching up and letting Sof destroy all the beer mats in sight. We did, however, get to a few sights – the Berlin Dome, the Brandenburg Gate, the East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie and the Jewish Museum. The Jewish Museum was hilarious for us, I think we spent more time in the cafe than looking around the exhibits, because someone was very noisy and excited in her harness. We had to line up and wait to get in, so by the time we got inside it was lunchtime and we headed straight to the cafe. Sof ate pretzel and some of her prepared food without getting too messy, even though she was jumping around on her bench seat while Nath did a relaxed job of being her high-chair. There was no food on the floor and hardly any smeared on her face or in the 1/2 mile radius that usually happens at mealtimes, and the old lady seated at the table next to us actually said “Well done” to me as they got up and left. 🙂 I was hoping that Sofia had burnt off a bit of energy bouncing around at lunchtime, but no – once bundled into the harness and at near eye-level with all the other Museum-goers, she was smiling, flapping her arms and squealing at everyone, who mostly smiled indulgently back at her. For anyone that hasn’t been to the Jewish Museum yet, it’s an austere-looking piece of architecture, aiming for reverence and solemnity. The exhibits are designed so that only a few can look into the cabinets at a time and it’s dark and moody with its Holocaust Tower and Garden of Exile. The museum kinda echoes in it’s concrete emptiness which attendees shuffle around in reverent silence, soaking up the plight of the Jews through the ages. This only served to delight Sofia in squealing louder and more shrilly because her voice was bouncing back to her, only interrupted by her parents pointless ssshhhhhing. Once Sof had reached a decibel that only the dead and dogs can hear, we decided to make our escape and headed to a pub with James and Veerle.
Coming home again was really uneventful, and I have to praise easyJet for some very good service! We didn’t get to the gate early enough to get on first, so I was really worried about not getting a seat altogether, but easyJet actually rearranged some people and held some seats for us so that Nath and I could sit together! 90 minutes later and we were back at Gatwick, hardly any line at border control and then a train ready and waiting to take us back to Clapham Junction. It couldn’t have been any easier to get home, and really makes you appreciate living in London. 🙂